Mobile Mayor Samuel L. Jones, a University of South Alabama trustee, will give the University of South Alabama’s Fall 2009 Commencement address on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m., at the USA Mitchell Center. The ceremony marks the beginning for 1,497 graduates, bringing the total number of degrees awarded in USA’s history to 66,226.
At the fall commencement ceremony, USA will award 923 bachelor’s degrees, 529 master’s degrees, 15 educational specialists and 30 doctorate degrees. Fall commencement is the graduation exercise for students who completed degree requirements in both the summer and fall terms.
A Mobile native, Jones was elected in 2005 as mayor of Mobile and re-elected without opposition in 2009. He defines his top priorities as mayor as: keeping the citizens and visitors safe; creating an accountable, efficient and effective city government; preserving the historic beauty of the city; providing top-notch citizen service for easy access to city government; and offering an excellent workforce for current and prospective employers.
Since 2001, Jones has served as a trustee for USA, lending his vision and energy to the University and its vital role in Mobile’s growth. His tireless efforts toward economic development, and his ability to work with state, civic and economic leaders, have helped lead to Mobile’s current status as a vibrant and growing community. Jones was instrumental in recruiting German steelmaking giant ThyssenKrupp to the area, and he has played a lead role in the winning of and continual negotiations for the Northrop Grumman/EADS bid for the tanker refueling project for the U.S. Air Force.
Prior to his election as mayor, Jones served as a Mobile County Commissioner for four terms. In this leadership role for the state’s second-largest county, Jones helped pioneer the city-county partnerships evident in the construction of Metro Jail and Mobile Government Plaza. Before joining and leading the County Commission, Jones served the community as executive director of Mobile Community Action Inc. from 1980-87.
A graduate of Central High School in Mobile, Jones attended Florida Junior College and Jacksonville University in Florida before enrolling at the Alabama Interdenominational Seminary, where he has been awarded an honorary doctorate.
Jones was in the U.S. Navy for nine years and served on the USS Forrestal. During this period, he served as a Flight Deck Troubleshooter for A-7 aircraft, Equal Opportunity Officer, Race Relations Education Specialist and Community Services Coordinator.
Jones currently serves on the boards of several organizations, including the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, the Mobile United Steering Committee, the Mobile Senior Bowl Committee, the MLK Redevelopment Corporation, the Mobile County Governmental Utilities, Mobile County Communication District, Volunteers of America, and Maritime Center of the Gulf of Mexico. He also serves as chair of the Metropolitan Planning Organization and an emeritus member of the Community Foundation of Southwest Alabama.
His many community affiliations include groups related to civic, political and charitable causes. Jones has received personal and professional awards throughout the years, including the prestigious honor of being selected as Mobilian of the Year for 2008.
PARKING / SHUTTLE INFORMATION
For the graduating students, there will be reserved parking in the parking lot across from the Student Recreation Center on Jaguar Drive, which is located behind the Mitchell College of Business. Admittance to the Physical Education Building is limited to graduating students only.
Handicapped parking will be limited but is available for students, family and friends. Entrance to this parking lot will be from Old Shell Road only (behind the Mitchell Center). Proper tags must be visible for access to this lot.
SHUTTLE SERVICES (for family and guests)
SHUTTLE TIMES: Shuttle services will run from noon - 6 p.m.
SHUTTLE PICKUP POINTS: University Commons, Mitchell College of Business parking lot, Gamma Residence Hall/ Engineering parking lot, and the parking lot east of the Computer Science Building.